[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 59 (Thursday, March 27, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 17070-17071]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06732]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 54

[WC Docket No. 11-42; DA 14-303]


Guidance to Eligible Telecommunications Carriers on the Process 
To Elect USAC To Perform Lifeline Recertification

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) 
provides guidance regarding the process for eligible telecommunications 
carriers (ETCs) to elect the Universal Service Administrative Company 
(USAC) to perform Lifeline recertification for their subscribers in 
2014.

DATES: Effective March 27, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Lechter, Wireline Competition 
Bureau, (202) 418-7387 or TTY: (202) 418-0484.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a synopsis of the Commission's 
document in WC Docket No. 11-42; DA 14-303, released March 5, 2014. The 
complete text of this document is available for inspection and copying 
during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, 
Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. 
The document may also be purchased from the Commission's duplicating 
contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), 445 12th Street SW., 
Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone (800) 378-3160 or (202) 
863-2893, facsimile (202) 863-2898, or via the Internet at http://www.bcpiweb.com. It is also available on the Commission's Web site at 
http://www.fcc.gov/document/guidance-etcs-regarding-2014-usac-lifeline-recertification-process.
    1. In the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, 77 FR 12784, March 2, 2012, 
the Commission required ETCs to recertify the eligibility of ETCs' base 
of subscribers ``annually.'' Starting in 2013, ETCs had the option of 
having USAC conduct the annual recertification process on their behalf. 
The Commission delegated to the Bureau the authority to establish, in 
coordination with USAC, a process for USAC to recertify subscribers. 
This process for 2013 was described in detail in the 2013 Recert 
Notice, 78 FR 35632, June 13, 2013, and, as explained below, remains 
largely the same for 2014.
    2. ETCs must provide notice to USAC by April 1, 2014 if they intend 
to have USAC perform the recertification process on their behalf for 
2014. Any ETC that used USAC to perform recertification in 2013 will be 
presumed to elect USAC to perform recertification in 2014 unless the 
carrier notifies USAC otherwise by April 1, 2014. ETCs that did not 
elect to use USAC last year and that do not make an election by April 
1, 2014 will be responsible for conducting recertification of their 
subscribers.
    3. ETCs should perform their election or revocation by sending an 
email to USAC at LiVerifications@usac.org. USAC will provide guidance 
to ETCs regarding format of the information in the email.
    4. Consistent with the process in 2013, USAC will recertify 
subscribers by mailing each subscriber a letter that provides the 
subscriber the notice required by Sec.  54.405(e)(4) of the 
Commission's rules, informing the subscriber that the subscriber has 30 
days to recertify the subscriber's continued eligibility to receive 
Lifeline service or the subscriber will be de-enrolled from the 
Lifeline program. The letter will also explain the recertification 
process and how the subscriber may confirm his or her eligibility. 
Subscribers will also receive a call or text message during the 30-day 
period to prompt a response. Any subscriber response submitted after 
the 30-day deadline will not be processed, and the subscriber will be 
considered ineligible for the program and will be de-enrolled.
    5. USAC will provide subscribers with three methods to respond to 
the letter and recertify their eligibility. First, USAC will accept 
consumer calls made to a toll-free number, during which consumers will 
be able to recertify eligibility through an Inter-Active Voice Response 
(IVR). Second, USAC will allow consumers to verify their identity, read 
the certification language, and submit a response indicating they are 
recertifying their eligibility through a Web site maintained by USAC. 
Third, subscribers may also recertify by signing a recertification form 
provided by USAC and mailing the signed form to a receiving address 
designated by USAC.
    6. ETCs that elect to have USAC recertify their Lifeline 
subscribers must provide USAC with their subscriber list by May 1, 
2014. Consistent with the Commission's recertification requirements, 
the subscriber list must be based on the ETC's February 2014 FCC Form 
497 and must be sent to USAC in a standardized format as instructed by 
USAC. To the extent that a state agency conducts recertification for 
all or a portion of an ETC's subscribers, the ETC may not elect to 
utilize USAC for recertifying those subscribers subject to 
recertification by the state agency. Therefore, prior to transmittal to 
USAC, the ETC should remove from its subscriber list those subscribers 
that are subject to the state agency's recertification process. Each 
ETC that elects USAC to perform the recertification process will 
provide a toll-free number that USAC can provide to the ETC's consumers 
who have questions about their service.
    7. USAC will complete the recertification process over a series of 
months, by grouping the ETCs that elect to have USAC complete the 
process into phases so that the influx of responses can be staggered. 
This grouping will be done randomly and staggered based upon USAC 
capacity.
    8. USAC will compile the responses and provide each ETC with a 
record of the subscriber recertification. USAC will provide each ETC 
with a list of subscribers that did not recertify, and therefore must 
be de-enrolled, and provide ETCs with sufficient information to compile 
their FCC Form 555 at least 30 days before the annual January 31 due 
date. ETCs must de-enroll subscribers within five days of receiving 
notice from USAC that the

[[Page 17071]]

subscriber has failed to recertify. As noted above, all active 
subscribers enrolled in Lifeline prior to 2014 and for which the ETC 
sought reimbursement on its February 2014 FCC Form 497 are subject to 
recertification in 2014.
    9. The Bureau concludes that good cause exists to make the 
procedures established in this document effective immediately (March 
27, 2014), pursuant to section 553(d)(3) of the Administrative 
Procedure Act. The Bureau also finds good cause based on the need for 
these procedures to be in place and available to ETCs in time for ETCs 
to be able to submit their elections to USAC, and provide USAC with a 
subscriber list in time to comply with the procedures adopted here.
    10. This document does not contain new or modified information 
collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain 
any new or modified information collection burden for small business 
concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business 
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(4).

Federal Communications Commission.
Kimberly A. Scardino,
Division Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline 
Competition Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2014-06732 Filed 3-26-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P